We see sensory overload every day in our young adults. From bouncing around from classroom to classroom and topic to topic in school, to homework, television, video gaming, and extra curricular activities, not to mention some form of online or instant communication via texting and instant messaging, today’s youth as a lot on their plate. There are pressures to meet home and school demands, as well as make and retain friendships and be a part of social situations. It can be difficult for kids today to know how and when to just take a step back, breathe in and just release all the tensions of the day.
That is where meditation for kids can be detrimental to their overall well being. Meditation benefits can be great, assuming the child or young adult is a willing participant and has an open mind.
While adult meditation is all about turning the senses inward, the first step in meditation for kids is to explore the senses before they can be turned inside.
The following meditation for kids steps and mindfulness exercises can help create a calm, focuses self awareness.
Invite kids to sit up tall in “criss cross applesauce” with their eyes closed. Ring a bell or singing bowl, and ask kids to use their sense of hearing to explore the sound. Ask them to listen carefully and when they hear the ringing stop, have them raise their hand. A great way to have kids become aware of their surroundings without sensory overload is to have them close their eyes and listen to the sounds around them. By focusing on those that are near, then those that are farther away, kids can learn to tune things in and out, and help them find a balance between things that are immediate and important and things that are not so important.
Singing and humming can also bring kids to a place of peace during mediation for kids. This meditation combines song and touch and can bring mindfulness and peace. Have kids sit up tall and practice singing lightly in whispers and quietly in our minds. This is a self soothing meditation for kids practice that can be done discretely anywhere kids need to calm down.
We are always breathing, or else we wouldn’t be living! When practicing meditation for kids, have the young one take control by counting breaths. The “Take Five” method involves inhaling for five, and exhaling for five. Ask the child if they can feel their heart rise and fall as they breathe. Can they feel the air come and go through their body?
Staring at the sky is also a fun tool in meditation for kids. While sitting quietly with their eyes closed or opened, have the child pay attention to their inhaling and exhaling. When thoughts arise, ask the child to think of them as clouds passing through the mind. The child can pretend to watch the clouds come and go just like they would in the sky.
Because kids tend to have shorter attention spans, it may be tricky to get them to sit for long periods of time. Having them run through these meditation for kids exercises a few times can help them understand that meditation benefits everyone and that it’s okay to take a time out, to pause and reflect and let our thoughts and feelings go. This is a great precursor to adult meditation.